Andy Heyward packs it in (or why does 60 Minutes have to be 60 minutes?)

Last month I moderated a panel at the We Media conference. Andy Heyward was on the panel, and I think from the pre-panel banter we had that he was a little tired of being the traditional media whipping boy.

Today he stepped down as president of CBS News. He must be feeling greatcongrats big guy!

At the panel I asked him point blank if he would rather produce a 60 Minutes type show online where he didn’t have to worry about how long or short it was, and he didn’t have to answer to the higher ups. He said something to the effect that he thought that it was a pretty good idea.

Some big Internet company should hire him and give him a moderate budget to produce news. Like quality news with quality journalists (citizen or traditional), not talking heads who are obsessed with ratings.

How amazing would it be if 60 Minutes didn’t have to be, well, 60 Minutes? What if a segment could run over six weeksor months, or yearsin various segment sizes (five minutes to 50 minutes)?

Clearly broadcast TV’s obsession with the bottom line just doesn’t work for news any more. Heck, even cable TV news sees to be so competitive that 95% of the reporting is vapid. Every now and again I see someone on cable TV who I know is a complete fool presented as an expert and I think “how the heck did these people get duped into putting this guy on TV??!?!” Then I realize that when you’re trying to fill 24 hours a day you gotta get bodies into the studio, and almost anyone can sound smart if you limit their contribution to 3-5 minutes of air time.

OK, that’s my rant for the day back to work.

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